Since March, the U.S.-Canada border has been closed to all but essential traffic in an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus. But Americans being Americans, they are flouting the new regulations in the pursuit of their usual summer fun.
According to NPR, “Canadian border patrol has effectively prevented caravans of Americans” from crossing the border. Most are arriving by sailboats and luxury yachts.
Those crossing the border have often told officials that they are heading to Alaska to circumvent the new regulations. But because so many Americans are using the so-called “Alaska loophole,” authorities have increased restrictions.
One reason Americans are being spotted is that Canadian boaters are using technology to monitor them. With the requirement that all passenger boats have to be equipped with tracking devices to help prevent weather-related accidents, anyone with an internet connection can monitor border-crossings and identify vessels by type and country of origin.
“A number of us that are retired boaters and still members of the Council of BC Yacht Clubs started looking at the number of American boats that were crossing our border, in spite of the prohibition by the federal government,” President of BC Marine Parks Forever, George Creek, told NPR.
But Creek says that the Americans are starting to catch on to the tracking.
“They’re turning them off as they cross the border. We see them on the computer, and at a particular point a few minutes later, they’re not there anymore,” he said.
Both Creek and his fellow Canadians don’t appreciate border crossing Americans. As NPR points out, one poll found eight in 10 Canadians want the border with the United States to stay closed due to the coronavirus.
Creek told NPR he’d been angered by an incident involving Americans exiting a large yacht at an outpost for supplies, saying, “They wandered the dock. Three or four adults and the rest were teenagers with no social distancing, no masks, and went through the store as if they were just shopping at Walmart.”
All of this has frustrated Creek, as America has failed to successfully quell the coronavirus outbreak. “When I called the U.S. the biggest petri dish in the world, that was not just off the cuff,” Creek said.